LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Mittal’s response to VSG Presidential Elections

Former VSG vice presidential candidate Amisha Mittal comments on the March 24 VSG election and apologizes to the Vanderbilt community.


Alex Venero

E. Bronson Ingram Residential College as photographed on Sept. 10, 2020. (Vanderbilt Multimedia/Alexandra Venero)

Amisha Mittal, Guest Writer

Dear Vanderbilt,

I am writing this letter to apologize for the outcome of my recent campaign for Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) and to provide transparency about its discontinuation. 

Two weeks ago, my running mate Jordan Gould was accused of attending a fraternity event during North/South week that made light of the Civil War. When confronted about it, Jordan lied, insisting to the campaign team that he would have never attended such an event. However, after we trusted his word, defended him and continued to campaign, Jordan revealed on Sunday night that the event had indeed occurred and that he had willingly participated.

While I take accountability for misplacing my trust, I want everyone to know that I removed myself from the campaign the moment I was able to confirm that Jordan hadn’t been truthful about his involvement in this insensitive and harmful event. 

With that part of the story told, I want to personally apologize for the statement our campaign released on March 19. Our statement was wrong because it contained and defended a slate of falsities, condemned both Hannah and Kayla for rhetoric and discourse that was beyond their control and was harmful to many marginalized communities on campus. This harm was magnified given the relative lack of context into which we released our aggressively targeted remarks. I was complicit in approving the release of this harmful message to the Vanderbilt community that contained anti-Blackness and misogynoir, and I take responsibility for the hurt that it caused. I see now that our statements were unjustified and that their tone and language were harmful to so many people, most of all Black Women and Vanderbilt’s broader Black community. I also want to apologize directly to Hannah and Kayla for channeling our frustration about campaign tactics into an unnecessarily adversarial and aggressive statement. I in no way intended to question their ability to lead, and in fact have complete faith that Hannah and Kayla’s leadership will bring their vision of a more inclusive, equitable, sustainable and safer Vanderbilt to life. I am deeply sorry for my role in approving such a problematic statement. 

As a woman of color who is actively involved in Vanderbilt’s South Asian community, I have spent the last two years in VSG and elsewhere on campus advocating for minority students and marginalized voices. I truly believe that the power of student government is strongest when those in leadership positions fight for all student perspectives. For that reason, I am beyond upset that my efforts to seek higher leadership in the hopes of furthering this belief instead had the opposite effect. I am genuinely sorry to everyone who was hurt by our campaign or by our statement, and I pledge to spend the remainder of my time on campus demonstrating the values I truly believe in. 



Amisha Mittal